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A swap body (or swop body) is a standard freight container for road and rail transport.
Basic standardization is set with Euronorms EN 283, EN 284 and EN 452 for construction and design, as well as EN 13044 for marking and identification. The panel responsible for developing standards is CEN/TC 119. The outcome of this panel has not yet provided any contribution to automation, as handling the swap bodies is a traditional haulage business with truck drivers involved.
The design of swap bodies is optimized to minimize empty weight, saving on initial purchase cost (less materials required to manufacture) and on trucking fuel cost (less dead weight to be transported). As a consequence, swap bodies are not stackable or liftable, unlike the more widespread shipping containers (ISO containers). This makes them unsuitable for ship-based overseas transportation. Because of security concerns, the number of swap bodies with a hard surface instead of curtains and tarpaulins is increasing.
Swap bodies are typically more expensive than equivalent payload ISO containers. This is because the ISO containers used in Europe are typically manufactured in China, whereas swap bodies are made in Europe (central Europe and the UK). The lighter weight of the body offsets this cost in fuel savings during transport and increased cargo capacity.
Swap bodies often have the same external width of corner fittings as shipping containers, so that they can be placed on the same kinds of trucks, trailers and railroad cars designed for shipping containers. However, to optimize the carriage of pallets, wide bodies are often scaled to the maximum width allowed for standard road trucks and railroad cars and to a different length accommodating a quantity of Euro-pallets (0.8 m × 1.2 m/31.5 in × 47.2 in) without leaving empty space.
Many swap bodies are fitted with four up-folding legs under their frame, to make it possible to change or “swap” their body from one carriage to another, or to leave the swap body at a destination, without using a crane or hoist.
Special swap bodies may have more doors or sliding panels than ordinary hard boxes for trucks, railroad cars or sea containers, making unloading and loading faster and easier.
Many swap bodies are fitted with key hole tracking to house a range of extras such as shoring bars and cargo nets to extend its uses in various applications. Recently a second flooring using folding shelfs has been used to aid postal companies.
All swap bodies are subject to extensive non-destructive (in most cases) testing, some in-house others not, regulated by certifying authorities.
See also Edit
- ↑ Economic Analysis of Proposed Standardisation and Harmonisation Requirements, Final Report, 13 Oct 2003, ICF Consulting Ltd.
- Economic Analysis of Proposed Standardisation and Harmonisation Requirements, Final Report, 13 Oct 2003, ICF Consulting Ltd.
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